A View From the Field








Journal November 2000

November 30

Well, I'm on my way.  I saw my doctor this morning, and I now have tests scheduled for the next four weekdays in a row, the up to U of M on the 13th, where I will see the doctor and a psychologist and in between have another bone marrow biopsy.  Ouch.  I didn't know I was going to have to have another one of those.  I say again, when you are lying on a gurney on your side and the doctor is behind you, watch out!  


It will be interesting to find out what the psychologist is for.  it's "part of the program" so I have to talk to her.  Hmm.


They were also going to schedule teaching me to inject myself until I suggested gently that I've been doing that after every chemo for 6 cycles now and I think I know how already.


While we are there, we should get the rest of the schedule, but it's beginning to look like the harvesting may be done during the holidays (not what I really wanted) and the transplant will be right after the first of the year.  It would probably be good - looking forward to it isn't fun.  I would rather get it over with and get on with the rest of my life.


I'm getting prepared.  I stopped at the photo shop and ordered two posters today - one of the view and one of the house - so I will have something nice to look at.   


Tomorrow I have a lung function test, which is a new one on me, so that will be interesting.  I expect to finish that sock next week.  But at least we aren't standing still.


November 29

The organization ladies filled the bird feeder yesterday afternoon, and the first bird this morning was a tufted titmouse, actually a pair.  I didn't know there were any of those around here, and I had never seen one.  Unfortunately, the official life list is at Copper Harbor, so I will have to try to remember that I saw them. They were followed by the chickadees, of course, and by the time I left for bible class, the rush was on.  The blue jays were here this afternoon, and I always get a laugh out of them, because they are actually much too big for the feeder and they really have to contort themselves to pick out the seeds.  I wasn't upstairs as it was getting dark, but I imagine the cardinals will be here soon.  Even the sparrows are fun to watch, and there were several black squirrels with the most beautiful, full, shiny coats. 


 It amazes me that we have so many interesting birds even here in the city.  There is a hermit thrush who lives around here, although I usually only see him in the spring.  I saw him again a week or so ago, so apparently he is a resident even though I don't see him much.  That is why I decided to try to feed the birds this year.  I didn't last winter, and I missed seeing them.


The front bedroom now needs only one box moved and the bedspreads washed to be a fully functional bedroom, so that is off my mind.  Now to get a thorough housecleaning, and I will be set for whatever happens.  Of course the sewing room and my bedroom are disasters, but I think I can handle that.  It will be a new thing, living in a clean house without stuff all over the floors (if I get that far!).


The cleaning wore me out again, but now the big push is over and I can do the rest of it at my own pace.  


I see the doctor tomorrow, so I may have some better idea of what's going to happen next.  Now I want to get moving and get this thing under way so I can start to recover.  But that's why they call us "patients", isn't it?


November 28

Well, I seem to be pretty much over the stomach thing, or at least I didn't begin to feel bad until I got really tired.  The organization ladies were here this morning, and by noon the front bedroom was nearly livable.  I didn't think it would take long with the proper people involved.  Of course, we won't even talk about the basement, but that's not really important right now.  A couple more days and I will have a nice looking guest room, then I can get the cleaning people in, and we will be all ready for whatever happens (ha!)


The eye doctor says my eye is coming along well and I can start weaning myself off the drops, so that is going well, and so far I have not come down with anything else.


Of course, after the organization ladies left, I decided the kitchen was too neat so I went food shopping, and now it is not neat any more.  The ladies always want to look at all the catalogs I am throwing away, so they went off with tons of those, and I don't have to worry about recycling them.


It was nice to have other things to occupy me today, because the weather is the kind I hate most - very dark with drizzle or light rain, and very raw and nasty out.  We had to have all the lights in the house on all day, and when I came back from shopping, about 3:30, the streetlights were on.  Most unpleasant.


Sometime I am going to have to take the binoculars along when I drive out Lakeshore Drive, because there seem to be quite a few birds in the water and with my slightly hazy vision, they don't all look like mallards and seagulls.  Now, what people will think of me parking in the median and bird watching, I don't know, but it would be interesting.


So now DC is trying to sleep on my lap, and shortly I will tromp upstairs and do the same.  It's the only thing to do on a day like this!


November 26

The second chemo cycle ended Wednesday, except for the aftereffects, so I haven't felt very good.  I actually did feel fine on Thursday, which was nice, since I got to have a very nice dinner with some people I like.


I thought I would add a few pictures to the gallery and a short entry here, mostly to keep my mind off my stomach, which aches.  I will see the doctor on Thursday, and we will start forward on the next adventure.  I talked to the people at U of M last week, and they know I am ready for the next steps.  There are some tests I have to have before I see them.  It looks like we are still on track to do the transplant shortly after the first of the year, although I will know later.


After several days of sunshine last week, it has been dreary and dark and rainy for the past two days.  It always amazes me how my mental state can be altered by the weather.  The days are getting very short, too, which doesn't help things.  Fortunately, this part of the year seems to go by very fast anyway, and I'm sure it will this year.


Well, DC is telling me he wants something - either to sit on my lap or eat, or maybe both, so I will try to get this uploaded and call it a day.


November 19

I think I have all the pages updated properly and all the pictures for now.  There will be more, later, but I would like to scan the negatives rather than the prints, and I've misplaced most of my negatives.  This will give me a good start.  I hope everybody enjoys them.


Today was a truncated day.  I didn't sleep well overnight, so I slept during the day, didn't get to church, and spent most of the afternoon fooling around with the site.  Tomorrow is the rest of the chemo, so it will be a lost day, too.  


November 18

Well, I've learned not to trust the computer.  FrontPage doesn't do automatic saves like some of the other programs do, and the laptop reboots itself every so often for no apparent reason.  So, not only did I lose all the snazzy picture pages I'd set up, I lost the journal and the links pages, too!  Arrrggghh!


The second chemo cycle started yesterday.  It wasn't bad, just long.  Since I reacted to the rituxin the first time, they infused it very slowly, and I was there for over 6 hours.  Got a lot of embroidery done.


Every time I go to the clinic, I realize how fortunate I am.  The first time, there was a young woman whose stem cell transplant was aborted after the second time they tried to harvest her stem cells because she developed congestive heart failure (in her 30s).  Yesterday there was a 40-something woman whose lymphoma had affected her pancreas.  She reacted strongly to the rituxin, and I wonder how she'll do with CHOP.  I may find out, since she should be there Monday.


I'm lucky that my organs and bone marrow are intact, and my heart is good.  I also feel fortunate that I ended up at University of Michigan rather than one of the local centers.  I've heard some things I don't like about the places in Detroit.  


I've now heard about a couple of stem cell transplants that either didn't go or didn't work, but both were for early-onset breast cancer, and apparently the case for doing a transplant for that disease isn't nearly as clear-cut as it is for lymphoma and leukemia.


I also convinced them to infuse the adriamycin over two days rather than all on Monday, and I feel much more comfortable with that.  It is so strong that I'm not sure how I would react.  Two days rather than three will be hard anyway, but maybe I'll feel good enough to go out for Thanksgiving.


November 15

This is just a short entry to get the ball rolling.  A View From the Field lives!